The Gary Numan Savage Tour

Gary Numan’s interviews reveal a warm, sensitive and humble person but his music picks over a field of shattered dreams. This is the ‘Savage’ tour.

The Numan Enigma

I’m not a dedicated Gary Numan fan and I’m not wholly convinced by his music, but I’ve been following his progress throughout his career. Some of the tracks I liked the most are the dance-style tracks from an era he now rejects musically, saying he felt lost.

I became quite intrigued by his interviews that revealed an interesting and genuine person whose honesty casually plumbs unexpected depths. Recently, he released a promo video for “My Name is Ruin”. Whether you like it or not, its a solid piece of work musically as well as visually and his record sales are reflecting that.

The Numan Concert

On the day of the Numan concert at the Brighton Dome, the sky was filled with a weird orange colour blown in by hurricane Ophelia as if it were part of the act. The queue of ticketed fans all looked they were about the same age as Gary himself – these are loyal fans who have grown up with him.

The concert started with the support act, Jace Lewis, who said that he was suffering from man-flu. It looked like he was largely unknown to the audience. He did well but it seemed that people were waiting for Gary and there wasn’t anything he could do to change that. The music industry can be tough. I felt that his true style was more ornate than the version he gave us on the night and in a year or so he would likely develop that part more.

How Was It?

Good show, worth the time and money, he’s a pro.

Numan and Persia Singing Together

Their voices work really well together and it would be good to hear more of those combinations in the songs. Since her 12th birthday is about now, if it happens then there will be juggling of tour dates around exams etc. Worth doing though, and since Gary is in perpetual search of new sounds, it seems likely.

I have read nothing but encouraging words for Persia as a singer and potential inheritor of her father’s music. Numan says Persia is not egotistical about her approach to being onstage, and she seems quiet and reserved. Those characteristics make her very similar to her father. I can imagine that when she starts projecting her on-stage persona in her mid-teens, it could be a dark one – and that would be a very powerful image and a fantastic amplifier for Numan’s work. I can see a possibility that Numan and Persia could evolve into an excellent partnership in the not too distant future.

Numan Tracks Online 

Tracks from Savage and other albums can all be heard in full on garynuman.com/music

I measured an ear-bashing volume of 106 dB during some parts of the concert but had prepared by bringing ear-plugs. This removed some treble but was a good move overall. Most concerts don’t deliver the pristine sound of an engineered track in any case. Sensibly, the staff were wearing ear defenders, as were a few of the audience.

It was interesting to see the Gary Numan ‘merch’ on display. I used to be hypnotised by the artwork and would really want to have a copy to be a part of it. There were plenty of fans signifying their individuality by buying one of the thousands of t-shirts that will be on sale throughout the tour. I’m also tempted, so I’m wondering if a t-shirt is a passport to a new social group or whether they spread out evenly throughout a town so they can look unique on their own. Maybe I’ll just stick to the hardback CD booklet. There isn’t a description of what the booklet is about, maybe it’s one of the short stories he’s been working on lately.

Show Me the Money

Brighton Dome seating for Gary Numan Savage tour
Click image to get a responsive view of Brighton Dome seating on Google. This ticket was my passport to a circle seat behind a pillar. It’s the last one, he said. Not true, actually :0(

Just out of interest I thought I’d figure out how much I could earn as a Rock God with a wife and three kids. I want to be prepared.

In Brighton, seating and standing hold 1860 people. Guess 90% capacity, each attendee paying £31.50 makes £53k. Assuming hiring of hall and staff for one night is about 7k according to their website leaves about £46k. Scale that figure by the 50 tour dates gives a gross value of about £2.28 million.

From that, you would need to take out costs for the team and equipment – transport, accommodation, shipping, flights, freighting, the lighting rig, wages and other expenses, including tax. There are probably other less visible expenses, such as legal and financial obligations. It was interesting to find out that in general support acts not only don’t earn much but in some cases might themselves pay to be part of the tour. In this case, I’ve wrapped his costs up as a member of the tour.

After the UK/USA tax rate of 40-45%, the profit guesstimate ends up at about £900k. Supposing, purely as a guess, the primary band members get 30% of the profit between them that leaves  £640k in the bank, so to be conservative let’s round it down to £500k. That’s a big drop from 2 million, but it still seems worth it. I have no idea what the true numbers are, but it does give some sense of the scale of it.

Numan says there will be another tour next year and there will already have been sales of CD’s and other merchandise as well as future profits from a recorded concert on this tour.

Gary Numan 'savage' tour
Here is Gary looking for his car keys. It could take a while.

Life as a Celebrity

gary and gemma numan

Not so worth the money though would be the trickle of fans who cross the line from respectful to nuisance and then migrate toward hazardous. That must happen fairly often. I saw this effect in a YouTube video taken on a street where Numan is walking from a van to a gig. The persistence of a white-haired photographer to make a connection was uncomfortable to watch. The trickle of people that tracked him on camera as he disappeared inside the building was understandable but not so good. I can imagine that there are plenty of people that would be a lot more vocal and far less restrained than this group, and it makes you shudder to think about it.

He has a partial antidote for the fame effect: he doesn’t want to know the opinions of followers or reviewers. That means all the twitter feedback is going nowhere and all the reviews will not be visited. His website is deliberately non-interactive, and as far as social media goes he is a read-only celebrity. It’s disappointing but sensible and this kind of protectionism is the kind of thing men as a whole do – protect yourself, protect your family.

Having said that, he is a consistently well mannered, thoughtful and considerate person. It’s partly his qualities as a person that contributed to me spending time and money going to his concert.

I’m pretty sure that his quiet, sensitive nature is the reason that his music is so dark.

In His Own Words

numan in desert

Gary made a Facebook posting dated 28 November 2016 entitled ‘The Android Film, Depression and Me’. The posting is a personal email to a friend that he decided to make public. It’s a frank consideration of his life views that makes very interesting reading. 

I reproduced it here initially but realised that’s not necessarily the right way to show respect. Instead, click on the following link to find it:

Gary Numan’s Facebook Post –
The Android film, Depression and Me

Note: This is probably a good place to say that I have used photo postings from Twitter and Facebook in the belief that those streams are a form of advertising that can be (respectfully) shared.

Music Videos

Surprisingly, perhaps, Numan has released all of the tracks as official videos on YouTube. This lends weight to the notion that artists make money on tours and ticket sales rather than by track sales as has been the case in previous decades. You should be able to find all of them with little difficulty.

My Name is Ruin [Savage]

A favourite track and video. Gary Numan and Persia together make it one of the best tracks on the album. Persia is definitely a very positive addition to the mix.

I Am Dust [Splinter]

Interviews

O2 Academy Interview

Run Time: 3:22

PRS Interview

Run Time: 7:58

Phil Marriot Interview (1/2)

Run Time: 5:14

Phil Marriott Interview (2/2)

Run Time: 3:43

Jonathan Clarke Interview

Run Time: 15:39

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